Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

INHERITANCE OF FREQUENT FLYER MILES


If you think that using your frequent flyer miles is a hassle while you are alive, it is even worse when you are dead. In the Florida probate area a frequent question is can I inherit a decedents frequent flyer miles. Some of the big North American lines specifically address the issue of transfer to heirs (and divorced spouses) in their frequent flyer membership rules:

Air Canada: Miles or rewards are personal and cannot be assigned, traded, willed or otherwise transferred.

American: Neither accrued mileage, nor award tickets, nor upgrades are transferable by the member (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise by operation of law. However, American Airlines, in its sole discretion, may credit accrued mileage to persons specifically identified in court approved divorce decrees and wills upon receipt of documentation satisfactory to American Airlines and upon payment of any applicable fees.

Jet Blue: Accrued points and award travel do not constitute property of member and are non-transferable (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise.

United: Neither accrued mileage nor certificates are transferable (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise by operation of law.

Southwest: Their frequent flyer program rules have nothing to say about the subject one way or the other.

Even the airlines that allow transfer are pretty specific about who can claim the miles. You must be either a "surviving spouse" or mentioned as an heir in the deceased member's Will.